The news came out the other day that Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen in living in the Cincinnati area had died after getting hit by a truck on I-71 near her home. Later it was found out that Leelah had committed suicide. I have never been able to wrap my head around the use of suicide as a solution for change. The real sad part for me is she didn’t have to die to bring attention to the issue of support for transgender teens.
Leelah’s story is heartbreaking even without the suicide. She wanted to transition to female and her parents, who were very religious, resisted Leelah’s wishes. They even sent her to Christian therapists to force her to live the way they wanted her to live. In her suicide note she said she had no real friends and no escape from her depressing life.
After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.
That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.
I guess why I find suicide so baffling is that I’ve never reached a point in my life where I even considered it.
I understand why Leelah chose suicide but like my view of war, I think suicide is a dumb choice in general. If one has a terminal illness and they want to end their life sooner rather than later then that doesn’t bother me but suicide by a teen who felt like there was no other options just seems like a cop-out. She was 17 and her solution was to kill herself? I think her depression had more to do with her choice and that too could have been treated.
Suicide to change things also almost never works.
I agree that there needs to be far more help for transgender teens and the topic needs to be discussed in schools so other transgendered teens won’t feel so isolated but I find it hard to believe that as Internet savy Leelah seemed to be that she couldn’t find ANY help outside her family.
If that help doesn’t seem to be around then it needs to be so that suicide stops being a solution for these teens.
I would feel that way even if Leelah hadn’t killed herself.
That’s the sad part for me. She didn’t have to die to bring attention to the issue. She really didn’t.